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Ted Cruz Used Texas to Create ALEC’s Anti-Obamacare Legislation

Photo: Creative Commons, License: N/A

Creative Commons

U.S. Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX)

The ‘Health Care Compact’—an agreement between participating states that shields them from the ACA by transferring power back to state governments to disburse their own health care funds through block grants in lieu of a federal plan—was first launched by former Texas solicitor general Cruz while he was a fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a research organization with strong ties to ALEC that bills itself as “one of the nation’s premier free market think tanks.”

With TPPF, Cruz co-authored a 2010 report that describes Obamacare as an “unconstitutional federal overreach and violation of 10th Amendment rights.” The paper then spelled out what would become ALEC’s own model legislation to upend Obamacare. The national Health Care Compact Alliance also credits the idea to TPPF and helpfully explains in a headline, “ALEC adopts Health Care Compact as model legislation.”

The compact is popular among conservative governors seeking to distance themselves from the feds, including Gov. Perry, who signed Texas’ interstate health care compact, authored by an ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force member, just weeks before announcing his presidential candidacy. (It’s worth noting that while seven states to date have signed the compact into law, it’s got no teeth until it receives unlikely Congressional approval, making it a largely symbolic measure as of now.)

While Perry’s attempt to influence national politics drifted away with his failed presidential bid, the symbiotic relationship between TPPF and ALEC may yet be able to succeed in spreading Texas conservative ideals, including those of extremists like Cruz, throughout the nation, while bringing additional “greatest hits” home from other ALEC hotbeds. “TPPF is really ALEC’s home away from home,” said Martin. “A lot of research from TPPF relies on ALEC and ALEC member organizations.”

In an attempt to further lift the veil shrouding ALEC, the Center for Media and Democracy issued open records requests to multiple legislators across the country associated with ALEC, with little trouble—until they got to Texas.

A recent fight to obtain ALEC-related documents played out between CMD and a state lawmaker unwilling to hand the information over. After ALEC began stamping its material with a “disclaimer” that argued it was exempt from state open records law, freshman State Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) then tried to withhold ALEC documents, seeking an Attorney General opinion in the meantime. That’s especially troubling for CMD’s Fischer since ALEC doesn’t release its list of members or funders and routinely bars the press from attending task force meetings—one of the only effective avenues in unearthing the group’s impact is through records requests.

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